If you are anything like me you are a mixture of excitement, fear and anticipation (BUST MOSTLY FEAR) as Fresher Week and Uni life is about to begin. I'm filled with nostalgia after graduating uni last year. I know a lot people who are starting their university journey this year, so thought i would share with you guys my advice and experiences.
|You will all recognise this typical halls room layout. This was mine in first year. Tip: Don't put things on the walls.. it doesn't go down well (oops).|
|[Awww look at ickle Sabs. Spot the Archers and box of chocolates - yeah its a big box, appaz i needed that much help. Although free food is a great way to students hearts!]|
A full bottle of Archers sat on a shelf (when i went to uni I had instilled in me the fear that if i got drunk - i would die), don't worry i quickly learn't that although it could cause you to spend a night on the bathroom floor and embarrassing pictures of you to be tagged on Facebook the next morning you wouldn't actually die. My mum had also left me with a massive box of Roses Chocolates to try and help me to make friends as i was shy and socially awkward.
By around this time you will be sick of hearing everyone say, "Uni is the best time of your life, make the most of it because its your last chance of freedom" blah blah blah. But it's true. I have always been a hard worker so for me I thought my main goal at uni, just like school, was to study and learn. So much so that i kind of forgot and neglected the most important part of university that is that you grow up and through mistakes, heartbreak, drunken nights you learn from your mistakes and eventually become a well rounded, more experienced individual (or 'adult' at a push). If anything university is the School Of Life teaching you a few important things that make you ready for the real world.
1. Dont Freak Out.... this starts with Freshers
I freaked out... A LOT and i think that stinted my happiness a lot at university. I was scared to let go on my inhibitions and be a little careless. I was sensible Sabs and Freshers quite frankly scared the s*** out of me. I'm laughing out loud just thinking about the first few freshers nights that I pretended to drink my Peach Schnapps during a drinking game and would feel so much panic and anxiety being in a club filled with OTT drunk people who could throw up on me or DIE at any minute.
|[One of my first nights out in Freshers and i can 100% say that 99% of that drink is lemonade. My facial expression says it all.]|
|[There was a cross on my head because i got labelled 'Hipster' as soon as i went from my London roots to Up North... in my white creepers.]|
2. Work Is Not Everything
If i havn't given it away already i have a strong work ethic. Passed down to me from teacher and my family i wanted to make them proud. Plus learning at this point at life is all i really knew and was what i thought defined success. But let me say this what you study does not define you. Lots of degrees at the end of your 3/4 years just ends up as a footnote at the end of your CV (sad but true). I came away from uni learning equally more about myself as i did the skills in my degree.
|[The legit feedback to my first ever essay "too may references to Wikipedia" - I had NO idea what i was doing haha!]|
Advice: Firstly it's not school you don't get a gold star for effort, lecturers will mark you with no regard to how much work you put in (I learn't this the hard way). Someone will always be better than you so just do your thing and work diligently as long as you know you tried that's all that matters. You just need to graduate, its just another stepping block in life - don't make it your life. I came out with a 2:1 and probably still would have come out with a 2:1 with 20% less effort. So if its between missing a day of work and having to pull a all nighter (which is actually fun it you are in good company) VS going on a spontaneous adventure with your mates - pick the second one.
3. Be Open To Experiences
Join a society, do projects with your friends, say yes to everything (well not everything if you know what i'm saying but within reason). I gradually became more confident at uni and that wasn't by staying in my comfort zone. I even became one of those girls who always goes out and is known by the club bouncers. And on a more adult level passed my driving test.
Advice: Don't take life too seriously, you will thank yourself for it when you realise later on in life how much you have grown as a person. Step out of your comfort zone, the first step is always the worst.
|[Yep that is me. Think i had been drinking red VK not blood. My hair was glow in the dark and could still be seen glowing through my beanie in the 9am screening the next morning]|
4. No One Remembers The Night They Got A Good Nights Sleep
|[ Proof I went to pre-drinks in my Pajama shirt positive I was not going to go out]|
|[Or you may even take off all the light fittings and use them as hats whilst pre-drinking...]|
They are very random memories but i remembered them enough to put them in this blog post.
Advice: The memories that last are usually the random ones. So pick yourself up, throw on some clothes (pre-drink coffee if you have too - i did that before) and go out. You will be surprised how long your body can go for without any/ very little sleep and its not going to kill you. A conversation i had in first year describes the situation perfectly. My mate was complaining about having to drink another night and we coined the phrase #unilifeproblems (trust me these arn't problems, its just uni life so you might as well make the most of it).
5. There Will Always Be Someone Else Who Wants To Get To Know You Just Around The Corner
|[This was our leavers ball and just shows the vast amount of people who you could befriend. I'm hiding/ not paying attention just beside the pink pig]|
|My course LAS's and I in third year.|
|The B2 peeps who kept me sane and sleeping safe in first year.|
6. Don't Mix Drinks
|[ Sorry Gabs i found this pic of you with two drinks. Gabs is actually one of the most sensible one's out of all of us ha]|
This is a simple but important lesson that you will learn by making the mistake of mixing drinks. It is true that mixing alcohol will get you A LOT more drunk than sticking to the same spirit. Do not mix wine, cocktails and vodka etc. It will not end well. We had a club that did £1 tequila shots and if a guy or friend offers to buy you a drink your hardly going to say no. I'm just going to warn you although you will probably learn this mistake on your own.
Side effects also cause drunk texting or voice mails and no one wants that. Although I once got a hilarious voice message from a friend which i will treasure forever - it was a catchy little song i can still hum it now haha.
Other Advice: ALWAYS get cheesy chips on the way home. It makes life SOO much better.
7. Budget, Budget, BUDGET.
Yes money, money, money. You are in charge of your finances. I know its hard to budget but it is needed if you don't want to go into your dreaded overdraft. I think i was one of the only people out of my friends who never went a penny into their overdraft. Some of the things that may go into your overdraft are inescapable such as rent or living allowances if you wearn't eligible for a bursary or grant. However, some of my friends were just pure stupid we would be 2 weeks into a new term and they would already have blown their budget for the term! There is nothing worse than getting FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) or being 'that friend' who bails because "they cant afford it".
|The faces of students who have no money....|
|VS students whose student loans have just come in!!|
8. Take Care Of Yourself
|Always have baked beans on toast as a backup meal|
Also if the stress of work gets too much go and speak to your Supervisor. I had to do this a few times during university, once when i got exhaustion because i had been just too overwhelmed. They can give you extensions that really help relieve some of the stress and panic.
|Top Tip: Work with friends, it makes it so much less stressful and you will be grateful or the extra support|
|One of my proudest moments at uni was starting this blog, spontaneously becoming a model and then ending up being the face of Ark Clothing.|
9. Not Everything Will Work Out
University is not like how they portray it in the movies. Not everyone will end up to be nice and you may be let down. I certainly had my fair share of let downs and issues but that just motivated me to work harder and succeed more. Especially if you are a nice person make sure you stand your ground and don't get walked all over. I learn't from this mistake... and still do.
10. Be Yourself
Possibly the most important lesson of university is that you can go and be whoever you want to be. No one knows your embarrassing school nicknames or whether you were in the popular or geek group. This is the chance to be who you want to be. I'm not talking about being fake and changing who you are to please others or fit in. I'm just saying you can be who you want to be. I went to university a shy, socially awkward girl who was pretty much terrified of everything - had any of you guessed that about me from reading this blog the past 3 years? Didn't think so. Work hard to become the person you want to be.
Right now close your laptop and GO MINGLE Freshers! The 3 or 4 years will fly past so quickly and soon you will be walking away in your gown with my face below. So go and start making the most of it!